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Travel once energized Biden, but Asia trip offers little relief from political woes

Noah Bierman and Eli Stokols, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Political News

The comments, at a news conference, left his advisers visibly surprised and sent them scrambling to issue a clarification.

Susan A. Thornton, a senior fellow at Yale Law School’s Paul Tsai China Center, downplayed the remarks and resulting coverage as a “manufactured flap,” and said Biden left Asia having accomplished what he set out to do.

“This is more of a media “gotcha” than anything,” she said. “Yes, we are going to help Taiwan‘s military, if they need it. No, we are not going to say exactly what that means for a hypothetical situation. And we insist that it remain hypothetical.”

While Biden said he was not changing U.S. policy, observers, including the Chinese government, saw it as a shift that could put American troops on the ground. American policy in Taiwan calls for providing the island resources to defend itself against China but not direct U.S. military intervention.

 

The statement led the international news cycle for 24 hours. And, intended or not, it overshadowed almost every other aspect of Biden’s trip.

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(Bierman reported from Tokyo and Stokols from Washington.)

©2022 Los Angeles Times. Visit at latimes.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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